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Varlamov set to start in 'Devil's Den'

Semyon Varlamov appears set to start in goal tonight at Mellon Arena as the Caps look to extend their winning streak to four games - and sweep the Pens for the first time in franchise history.

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't confirm his lineup, but I'm hearing Mike Green will miss his second straight game. I'm told he could have played tonight, but that he's being held out for precautionary reasons, presumably with a nagging injury.

"We might rest some guys and we've got some guys that are really banged up," Boudreau said. "Quite frankly, the game doesn't really mean a lot to us. If we've got guys who are tired and banged up, let's rest them. ...Today's game is more important to them because they want to finish second [in the Eastern Conference]."

For Varlamov, this is a chance for the rookie to build on Thursday's 2-1 win over Atlanta -and prove to Boudreau that he's capable of stringing together consecutive strong performances. He hasn't won back-to-back starts since December.

It will also be Varlamov's first start against Pittsburgh since Game 7 of last year's semifinals, a 6-2 defeat on home ice.

"We're in the Devil's Den, they were rested the night before and they've got their whole lineup in," Boudreau said. "He knows that if he's not at the absolute top of his game, it could turn ugly early."

As I mentioned earlier, Karl Alzner and Jay Beagle were recalled from Hershey. But it looks like only Beagle will play tonight. If that happens, it would be a shame considering what Alzner went through to get here.

Alzner was on the mall in Washington sightseeing with his girlfriend and her family when he got the call Monday. So he had to drive 130 miles back to Hershey during the evening rush, grab his equipment, a bagel and his suit, then drive all the way back to Dulles, where he arrived just before the charter took off.

It's unclear if Boudreau plans to rest any of his other stars, but I'm betting against it. (I'll check in with a full lineup just after warm-ups).

Some other notes from Mellon Arena:

*With the Pens set to move into Consol Energy Center next fall, this could be the last time Washington plays here. I, for one, am not counting on it.

"Thank God," Boudreau cracked when a reporter brought up the possibility. "It's got character, but it's antiquated. The city of Pittsburgh needs a new building and that's what they're getting."

Overall, the Caps are 33-51-7-1 in the regular season here and 8-16 in the playoffs.

*The Caps are 3-0-0 against the Pens this season, winning in regulation, overtime and a shootout.

*With another goal, the Caps will become the first team to score 300 goals in a season (not including shootout winners) since Ottawa and Detroit in 2005-06.

*If Ovechkin scores (and Sidney Crosby gets nothing tonight), the dueling captains will be tied atop the leader list at 47.

"Of course it's important," Ovechkin said. "But my mind and his mind are on the playoffs, not scoring leaders or goals."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 6, 2010; 1:23 PM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Penguins (updated)

Comments

First?

I don't get it: I thought that the Caps already got 304 goals.
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/standings;_ylt=AmfFEqc68MV9gIZc5h_dazV7vLYF

Hmm

Posted by: fizhe | April 6, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Who's the dude with the Brandon Walsh/Dylan McKay hair?

Posted by: JillC | April 6, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

hmm, those aren't the most encouraging words from BB. granted, it's a trap game, but it'd be nice to put forth some effort for the sweep!

Posted by: hockeypunk | April 6, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@ fritz,
Game 1 and 2 are likely going to Be Thursday/Saturday or Friday Sunday. The Bullets are at home in Verizon Wednesday.

They'll probably put out the schedule Monday.

Posted by: _Mark | April 6, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@fizhe

I think that included the winning shootout goal.

Posted by: vtcaps08 | April 6, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@JillC

I love the 90210 reference

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Fantastic response, Ovi. Score a few.

"*With another goal, the Caps will become the first team to score 300 goals in a season since Ottawa and Detroit in 2005-06."

I thought they scored their 300th the other night, but come to think of it the GF in the standings probably includes shoot-out wins points too.

I'd say they have a pretty good shot at getting another goal before the season's out.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 6, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: avischecter | April 6, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I thought they scored their 300th the other night, but come to think of it the GF in the standings probably includes shoot-out wins points too.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 6, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

You are correct sir. Sites like ESPN and Yahoo count the extra goal given for winning a shootout for whatever reason. Caps have won 5 shootouts this year, so there's the difference.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | April 6, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@_Mark - thx...i'm hoping for Fri/Sun cause I already have plans on Thurs that can't be changed....

Posted by: fritz_pj | April 6, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

avischecter, thanks for the link. Naturally I voted for Schultz. BTW, I saw a link to another story. All I can say is "yuck." http://nhl.fanhouse.com/2010/04/05/fleury-kennedy-among-those-upset-at-pardon-for-sex-offender/

Posted by: phillyreader | April 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Good to see Pauly D has found work after the Jersey Shore.

Posted by: CletusVanDamme | April 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

My brother thought he saw mike green at the pot bellies across from the practice rink. he said he saw a wrap on his wrist, so maybe there is a nagging injury? maybe shouldn't have said anything, but thought it was news worthy

Posted by: jfreedma | April 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

the nhl apparently tracks that also, they have us at 304. why? we all know SO goals/winning score shouldn't count. Whatever. I had no idea they tracked that.

Posted by: saintex | April 6, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Ok, as a proud homer I promptly pulled a lever for Sarge... but where is A-train??? Not one of the best three in the league? Ridiculous...

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 6, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Good to see Pauly D has found work after the Jersey Shore.

Posted by: CletusVanDamme | April 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

roflmao!

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I'll give it to Seabrook. Of the players mentioned (orpik, schultz, volchenkov), he's the best overall player. Take him out of the lineup and Chicago looks like a totally different team. Even when he came back at half-strength after his concussion courtesy of Wisniewksi, Seabrook looks better than Sarge. I don't think Chicago wins a playoff series with him.

The Caps however have won a series without Schultz. It'll be interesting to see how he transitions his "positional" style into the playoffs. He's going to have to adjust his game I think. Everything just moves a lot faster and his sense of urgency in our own end will need to improve.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I made this video of my puppy, he is trained and ready for the last game of the season against the Penguins as you can see... Good for a chuckle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdTV1fLBaXw

Posted by: Bobomite | April 6, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Although tonight has no bearing on the standings... tonight is a huge game! I want to sweep the Pens so bad.

Tonight is a huge game for Varly. I still believe Varly has a chance to be the #1 guy in the playoffs.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 6, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Why did Karl have to go back to Dulles to just fly back to PA? Why couldn't he drive to Pittsburgh?

Posted by: mikesfan | April 6, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

more beagle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUyLlEqiV1o&feature=player_embedded

On Saturday, the Bears (58-15-0-3) scored in a variety of ways - shorthanded, power
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play, on a delayed penalty call and even a 5-on-3 tally.

Jay Beagle led the charge, with two goals. His first proved to be the game-winner at 12:30 in the first period.

"He's a tenacious player," French said of Beagle. "He creates havoc and has boundless energy."


and here's the shortie at the 28 second mark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suFnCyrRlm0

also notice who the forward is on top of the crease for goal#3 - Its Andrew Gordon. This is what he does on every shift it seems. Beagle scored goal#4 in the vid on a late charge to the net courtesy of a nice pass from Perrault.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Here is a little piece out of an ESPN story. Mostly it's quotes from Babcock and Bylsma. It may explain the thinking of why Corvo is a better option than Erskine for the playoffs.

"The impact of top puckmoving defensemen is more subtle. "A guy like Gonchar can make a great tape-to-tape pass or come out of the defensive zone with the puck on his stick," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma says. "That's huge, because it means we spend less time in our end and can attack with speed."

Lesser defensemen, on the other hand, often flip or chip the puck out of the zone, which forces forwards to chase instead of possess it and limits a team's ability to attack off the rush. "The frustration of your best forwards rises when you don't have a defenseman who can get the puck to them in a timely manner," Bylsma says. And frustrated forwards aren't efficient forwards."

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

But Corvo hasn't even been able to connect on his passes.

He sucks at everything he does

Posted by: CapsandRavens | April 6, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Even a year ago, who would have thought that Schultz would be mentioned as a top d-man in any respect?

In the off-season, I would like to see the team send Schultz, Alzner and Carlson to an intense camp to work on power skating and strength training. There are a couple forwards who would also benefit from that.

Posted by: zmega | April 6, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I assume that Boudreau hates Theo, I don't understand why it's not Theo in the net tonigth, it's ridiculous, why stopping again his momentum?

Posted by: frank56 | April 6, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

ok - i'll take Gonchar over Corvo anyday of the week. Gonch can actually play D when he's motivated.

So even though Bylsma is talking about Gonch's crisp passing, Gonch wouldn't get a lot of ice time if he wasn't also a good defender. He's much stronger on his skates than is Corvo.

I'm not discounting the effectivness of being a good passer with relation to a quick transition game. But how often do you really get a chance to do that in the playoffs. Usually with a heavy forecheck, you're scrambling to get that puck out unless the other team just dumps it in for a line change. I see a lot more situations where Corvo will have to deal with an intense forecheck or forwards carrying the puck into the zone, vs him having time to make a nice crisp outlet pass.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

If Carlson comes back as well, I would be very curious to see how Karl and Carl would do together in the Den of Evil.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 6, 2010 10:02 AM

@igor_k17: "Den of Evil"....LMAO--good one!


@Maleesh: Great Post!


Sit em all. Call up the entire Bears roster. Get the boys healthy for the road ahead. National TV ratings be d@mned.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | April 6, 2010 11:20 AM


@RicketyCricket: At first blush, this sounds like a very good idea. As a long time Caps Fan/Pens Hater, I can honestly say that this would be an absolute dream scenario from the perspective of getting my Schadenfreude on.


There's just one problem: Karma. In other words, I can see it biting us back worse than we can possibly imagine.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 6, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Clearly Corvo is Gonchar.

The Caps, when they get possession, often circle back, go behind the net and set up a rush up ice. That does still happen often in the playoffs. It also happens when the Caps win a draw in the neutral zone. They often reset and start a rush.

I saw a replay a few weeks ago of game 2 against Pittsbrugh and was looking at this and how often the D had a decent amount of time. It happens multiple times every period.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

For those of you with children that play hockey:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10189.html

that darn chinese lead paint gets into the strangest places....

Posted by: WhyGo | April 6, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@JillC

I was thinking James Franco, myself. That whole picture is just surreal.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 6, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

And Paul Maurice was confident enough in Corvo to give him lots of ice time in the playoffs. He was paired with Pitkanen, who is good, but I don't think Pitkanen is a physical defender either. Either way, he played a lot of playoff minutes and led the team in playoff minutes in both game 7 victories last year. His only other time in the playoffs he played for the Ottawa team that went to the finals. There he saw about 16:00 minutes/game.

I'm not arguing to give him first pairing minutes, but I definitely think he is a top 6 defenseman on the Caps today and is a better option than Erskine, Sloan, and Jurcina.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

before cutting ties with Fehr, I'd want to give AG an extended look up here. Fehr has more market value since he's proven that he can score at this level. So if AG looks like he can take over a 3rd line RW spot, and play on the PP, I'd look into packaging Fehr for something we're short on. Fehr on many nights is still a one-dimensional player. He's got a nice nose for the net and he's got a nice wrister. But he doesn't skate very well, he's not a good defensive player and he's not a good forechecker. AG exceeds him in all those capacities, just a matter of him proving he can be some type of offensive force at this level.

Posted by: cstanton1

---------------------------------
I don't understand your willingness to get rid of Fehr. AG is a reasonable depth forward prospect. He scored 21 goals this season playing against AHL opposition Yes, he has some qualities that are missing from Fehr's game so far. What he does not have is NHL level offensive talent. I am not even sure he has AHL level offensive talent for that matter.

We have no legit blue chip RW (1st line potential) anywhere in the system. In a year, Knuble is gone, and even if Semin is here, I don't want him on the first line.
So, I would hold on to Fehr if at all possible this summer - Flash may be expandable as we seems to be set on the left wing top two spots for a long time. And after seeing him getting fleeced repeatedly by Bergeron last night, I don't think I can stomach him as a center anymore.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 6, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant

"Clearly Corvo is NOT Gonchar"

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I assume that Boudreau hates Theo, I don't understand why it's not Theo in the net tonigth, it's ridiculous, why stopping again his momentum?

Posted by: frank56

I think it's good to give Varly the start tonight. He keeps on improving and he's gaining more confidence. While Theo most likely will be the starter come game 1, he just played last night and I don't see much upside throwing him out there on a back to back in Pittsburgh.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 6, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

clearly Gonchar > Corvo.

there's always give and take, you always weigh the good v the bad. Gonch is a two way dman now. Corvo is more susceptible to defensive gaffes and physically he's not strong enough to handle most forwards effectively. So while it would be nice to have Corvo back there for his potential to start a rush, i think his negatives significantly outweigh his offensive contributions.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

the lead is in the adult sticks too (NHL sticks as well) but the government thinks that adults are about as dumb or smart as they are likely to get already, so the lead will be allowed to stay in the grown-up sticks.

Posted by: WhyGo | April 6, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Corvo is pretty good when he's playing a role that's not required on this team. He's good playing the point on the powerplay but with Green and Ovechkin, that's not really needed here. He's alright at moving the puck but if he gets pressured in his own end he will often wait too long to try and make a play and turn the puck over instead of just quickly clearing the puck if he has nothing to work with (sort of like what happened last night). He can be a pretty important player on some teams but I didn't really understand the pickup for the Caps.

Posted by: Stu_c | April 6, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant

"Clearly Corvo is NOT Gonchar"

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

whew.

gonchar isn't the defensive liability corvo is. So while it would be nice to leverage Corvo's puck skills/skating to generate some offense, his negatives outweigh his potential offensive contributions. imho of course.
-------------------------------------


"He was paired with Pitkanen, who is good, but I don't think Pitkanen is a physical defender either."

I didn't watch a lot of Pitkanen recently but he's definitely capable of being a physical defender. And he has been that at times. More importantly, you can't take advantage of him defensively quite as easy as a guy like Poti or Corvo.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand your willingness to get rid of Fehr. AG is a reasonable depth forward prospect. He scored 21 goals this season playing against AHL opposition Yes, he has some qualities that are missing from Fehr's game so far. What he does not have is NHL level offensive talent. I am not even sure he has AHL level offensive talent for that matter.
---------------

you gotta at least get the stats right :)

AG has scored 36 goals this season. He's a point per gamer. Granted he's now on the top line with Aucoin and Giroux but he definitely has the skills that Fehr has. Every year he's climbed a line. Now he's on the top line playing a more offensive role. He's really the most complete forward at Hershey. And he's a tenacious forechecker. He's laid some pretty heavy hits. He's also got guts, he took on a guy much bigger than him who was pushing around one of his teammates and he did a # on him. Every year he's gotten stronger and stronger, and redeveloped his game from a finesse forward to a more complete player.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@JillC

Seriously? It's THE Varly. Don't you recognize the eyes?

Posted by: AmyS1 | April 6, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I agree that Corvo should not be paired with Poti. Personally I would pair Corvo with ShaMo and Poti with Carlson. This allows Corvo to be paired with a more physical defender who will take more of the role of clearing the crease while Corvo takes the role of leading the rush.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

All I'm saying is, with Andrew Gordon in the system, you may be able to move Fehr. I think its hit or miss whether Fehr will ever become a real bluechip player. Mostly due to his skating. If you can get back good return for him, then why not consider AG as a replacement? thats all i'm saying, i'm not trying to dump on Fehr. I just think given the right opportunity you may get a 20 goal scorer in AG who also plays well at both ends. No one thought Chris Kunitz would ever turn into anything either. But anytime you have speed and tenaciousness and decent hands, given the right opportunity anything can happen.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I assume that Boudreau hates Theo, I don't understand why it's not Theo in the net tonigth, it's ridiculous, why stopping again his momentum?

Posted by: frank56 | April 6, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Frank, but I don't thing Theo's taking any offense. he took two starts in a row, played strong, and gets a night off on the back to back. Playing Theo tonight would have been unwise, and I'd bet Theo'd agree.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 6, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I agree that Corvo should not be paired with Poti. Personally I would pair Corvo with ShaMo and Poti with Carlson. This allows Corvo to be paired with a more physical defender who will take more of the role of clearing the crease while Corvo takes the role of leading the rush.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

in an effort to limit my posts per day, this will be my last post today i promise.


given what we currently have - our top 4 should be Green-Sarge, Carlson-Mo.

Poti is not top 4 material. I'd rather have a solid top 4 than a weaker one simply to mitigate a Poti-Corvo disaster.

So start with the strong top 4, and then figure out a rotation between Poti, Corvo, Erskine, Juice. You can't afford to have Poti or Corvo in your top 4.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@zmega
Not everyone was a Schultz basher last year. A lot of people seemed focused on every mistake to the exclusion of any positives in his play. There were some of us that recognized his improvement and his more solid play as the year went on. No surprise for me. Most of the bashers have faded in to the background.

Posted by: _Mark | April 6, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

you gotta at least get the stats right :)
-----------------------------------
ah, mixed up last year and this one... busted by the stats police!

And don't get me wrong - I am all for giving AG a chance next year... I just can't figure out where he'd fit. I doubt it will be anywhere higher than 3rd line - ever. Fehr is by no means a first liner - either as of now - but he has a legit chance; if he is not by next summer, we have to go shopping.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 6, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

given what we currently have - our top 4 should be Green-Sarge, Carlson-Mo.

Poti is not top 4 material. I'd rather have a solid top 4 than a weaker one simply to mitigate a Poti-Corvo disaster.

So start with the strong top 4, and then figure out a rotation between Poti, Corvo, Erskine, Juice. You can't afford to have Poti or Corvo in your top 4.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you on this...52-55 and 26-74 are our two best d-pairings right now and I'd feel really comfortable going into the playoffs with those pairings.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | April 6, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

There is not a good balance in the d-pairings, since we have 4 primarily offensive d-men and 2 primarily defensive d-men, of the 6 I expect the Caps to rely on in the playoffs. I think the original plan was for Alzner to come up ahead of Carlson which would have provided a better balance, but it just didn't work out that way. Unless they plan on alternating Poti and Carlson, and pairing them with Erskine/Jurcina, I don't see how it works. I'm still not sold on Poti/Corvo as a pairing, since neither provides the necessary defensive/physical offset for the other.

Posted by: zmega | April 6, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Like you said about Erskinse earlier, how pairing a defender with another one who compliments his skill set well helps bring out their talents much better since that player is placed in a position to rely on his strengths.

That's why I would have Corvo with ShaMo because it allows Corvo to be the more offesnive defenseman in his pairing knowing he has ShaMo back there to clear out the crease. Sort of like having Schultz with Green. Poti is an in between guy and so is Carlson which is why I would pair them together.

That way you bring out the most of the 6 defenders you are playing (third pairing D still plays 15 minutes a game) getting the best overall combined play of all 6 defenders.

Sort of like if you ranked play from each player from 1-10.

This is just an appoximation.

Let's just say Green/Schultz give 9 and 9.
Poti paired with Corvo gives 5 from Poti and 5 from Corvo.
ShaMo paired with Carlson gives 7 from ShaMo and 7 from Carlson.

That is a total of 42.

But if paired differently

Green/Schultz give 9 and 9.
ShaMo paired with Corvo gives 7 from ShaMo and 7 from Corvo.
Poti paired with Carlson gives 7 from Poti and 7 from Carlson.

That is a total of 46.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I am a Penguins fan, but I fully expect the Caps to win tonight and sweep the season series. The caps have to be admired this year as one of the best regular season teams of all time. But then, there is the playoffs...

Posted by: dputt | April 6, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

ok dammit last post

@sgm

What your approximate numbers don't take into account is ice time. Your top 4 should get more ice time per pair than your bottom pairing. Ice time won't be spread evenly especially going into the 3rd pd of games. I still stick with my top 4 of Green/Sarge/Mo/Carlson. They should get 80% of the ice time collectively (about 40% each). The 3rd pair should then get 20%. That changes those #s around. Again, just an approximation.


@zmega -- I don't look at it like we have 4 off dmen and 2 defensive ones.

Carlson and Green are playing well enough defensively that they're two-way players.
Mo and Sarge would be considered the defensive dmen.

Corvo is only an offensive dman. Poti does neither very well, neither very badly. He's just unremarkable.


@igor - don't pigeonhole players because you never know...Sutherby was drafted as at worst, a 2nd line center. See what happened to him. Kunitz was a discard. Yet he played on a 1st and 2nd line on two cup teams even though technically he's more suited as a 3rd liner. Mike Knuble certainly isn't a 1st liner if you look at his skillset. But here he is, because he's a good complement to his linemates.

So AG could end up playing on any line. He's got the speed to be a front line player, and he's got the grit to contribute as a checker.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 6, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Everybody agrees on 52/55.
Seems everybody wants to see 74 getting 2nd pair minutes. And it looks like the coach is willing to give him that chance.
Who is a better fit with him - Mo or Poti? In my opinion, neither is a very good one. One prone to mental mistakes, the other one lacks physical element.
But you go to war wit the army you have, not the one you want.
I think by now everybody should know Bruce will NOT drop Poti to the 3rd pair. Never happened in 2+ years. Won't happen now either. Bruce is simply too loyal to his players.
Moreover, I want to see 3/77 on the ice at the same time THE LEAST of all possible pairs. I think that was BB original plan - and looks like he gave up on it for now. Can't disagree.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 6, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I assume that Boudreau hates Theo, I don't understand why it's not Theo in the net tonigth, it's ridiculous, why stopping again his momentum?

Posted by: frank56 | April 6, 2010 2:46 PM |

Because he played last night. Give him a chance to rest, he'll start one or quite possibly both of the next two games. It's smart coaching, not anything against Theo.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 6, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I agree about minutes. But if your 2nd and 3rd defensive pairings are near equal you can play about equal. That can be helpful in a long playoff run.

I'd feel decently comfortable with those three pairings out there. If BB really felt that pairing Carlson with ShaMo would be best for 2nd pairing defenseman, then you could always switch the pairings in the last 10 minutes of the 3rd period if the Caps have the lead and just alternate defensive pairings for the remaining of the game.

I'm as excited about Carlson as everyone else, but he is a young rookie so it is still very possible he makes a few blunders in the playoffs. I know he has been in pressure situations before but the NHL playoffs is something different.

Lets not assume he is going to immediately be Nick Lidstrom out there.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

BB doesn't hate Theo. It's business, not personal. The team needs Varlamov to step up and be the number 1 goalie, and Neuvirth to step up and be a solid #2. This is for salary cap reasons - we need cheap goalies to be able to pay the high priced forwards. But as far as this year goes, if Theo gives the team the best chance to win, I have no doubt BB will ride him all the way.

Posted by: zmega | April 6, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Because he played last night. Give him a chance to rest, he'll start one or quite possibly both of the next two games. It's smart coaching, not anything against Theo.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 6, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Theo didn't need a rest, he has to keep his momentum, all the number 1 goalies in the league play all the game until the season finish.

Who is in the net for the penguins tonight? the back up like the caps.

Boudreau hates Theo I have no doubt about it.

Posted by: frank56 | April 6, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed that Michael Wilbon has turned into the ANGRIEST man in America? I read his Q&A today and at one point honestly stopped to consider whether or not he was just trying to be funny. It was ridiculous!! He could write a tirade about a rotten banana. What's wrong with him?? Why is he so pissed off??

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 6, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I don't think anyone on here is anointing Carlson as the second coming of Lidstrom, but a lot of people (including me) think he is the third or fourth best dman on this team right now. I can live with his rookie mistakes as long as the rest of his play more than make up for it, and so far it has.

Sure, he could falter in the playoffs and start playing like his age, but right now, going into the playoffs, it's hard not to see him on that 2nd pairing.

@frank56

Most goalies aren't built like Brodeur, Hasek or Ryan Miller. Theo is a guy who plays best with a day or twos rest. If BB really hated him (which I have no idea where you get that from), Theo would be starting tonight.

There's really no point in having him start tonight or in all 3 games left. I see him playing one more game before the playoffs and starting game 1 round 1 next week.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | April 6, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Theo didn't need a rest, he has to keep his momentum, all the number 1 goalies in the league play all the game until the season finish.

Who is in the net for the penguins tonight? the back up like the caps.

Boudreau hates Theo I have no doubt about it.

Posted by: frank56 | April 6, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

don't know what the heck you've watched all year but this team does NOT have a number one goalie like Miller and Brodeur. They have a number 1 and a 1A.

It worked for the Oilers of the 80's and the Red Wings.

Posted by: joek443 | April 6, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

This is not 100% guaranteed to be completely accurate, but I think it's right.

This is divided between pre-trade and post-trade, and I'm talking about all the trades made on the trade deadline for Corvo, Belanger, et al. One game on March 3 occurred without any of the traded players in the lineup, outgoing or incoming, so I didn't count that one.

Caps standings-points-per-game:
pre-trade 1.47; post-trade 1.5

Caps actual goals-against-per-game:
pre-trade 2.77; post-trade 2.75

Caps actual goals-for-per-game:
pre-trade 3.89; post-trade 3.31

Caps actual goals-for-per-game not scored by Ovechkin:

pre-trade 3.21; post-trade 3.06

I'm not sure the strength of the Caps' opponents post-trade was quite as good as pre-trade, since it included three games with Tampa, two games with Carolina, and a game with Florida.

But I'm not going to analyze the strength-of-schedule any more deeply. That'll take too long. Make of this what you will.

Apologies in advance if I happened to make an error. I did not double-check my work.

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 6, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed that Michael Wilbon has turned into the ANGRIEST man in America? I read his Q&A today and at one point honestly stopped to consider whether or not he was just trying to be funny. It was ridiculous!! He could write a tirade about a rotten banana. What's wrong with him?? Why is he so pissed off??

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 6, 2010 4:01 PM


@MarylanDChris:

You had to ask, so I will tell you the answer(s) to the question: "Why Is Michael Wilbon So Angry?"

1) The Redskins suck, and will probably continue to do so.
2) The Wizards suck, and ditto.
4) Ø "How dare anyone criticize "Agent Zero" for bringing guns into the Wizards' locker room?!?!?!" Ø
4) The Nationals are also likely to suck this season (again).
5) Ø "How dare anyone criticize Tiger Woods for cheating on his wife!?!??!?!" Ø
6) MW keeps trying to tear down the sport of Hockey, the Caps (in general) and Ovechkin (in particular). Nevertheless they continue to prove him wrong: For all his claimed 'street-cred' as a childhood Blackhawks fan, his hockey knowledge appears to be...shall we say, less than comprehensive.

Michael Wilbon seems to hate all DC sports except for the Redskins and Wizards (and I'm not even sure about them), and he just can't stand that the Caps--to put it mildly--are doing well.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 6, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I highly doubt Bylsma had Corvo in mind when talking about the importance of crisp-passing d-men - which he's absolutely right about. Not only is Corvo no Gonchar - look at Pens' record with and without him in lineup btw, remarkable - I think people can easily get fooled by Corvo, thinking that because he's a smooth skater he's also a good passer. In fact, he's not even among the top-2 passing d-men on the Caps right now [Green and Carlson clearly better, maybe even Schultz].

I admire BB's fairness and giving Corvo plenty of rope, but I've seen just about enough of the Corvo experiment as we approach the playoffs. Whoever his partner is, Carlson needs to be in the top-4 - NOT Corvo.

Posted by: govtimbo | April 6, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Something occurred to me that I find quite amazing. Had the Caps lost 14 straight instead of winning 14 straight, they would still be in position to make the playoffs.

*Note: this doesn't take into account that those teams the Caps beat during their streak would likely have a few more points than they do currently.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | April 6, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Rhino and MarylandChris, I agree - Wilbon is almost unreadable these days, just brutal. I have no idea where he gets some of that stuff, but he's pretty bad. I'm actually thankful he doesn't pay much attention to hockey, to be honest.

Posted by: govtimbo | April 6, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

@jillc

>>who's the dude>>

no kidding! I was thinking if I played the vid, it would be BB lip syncing "Girlfriend in a Coma" or something...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 6, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Does Wilbon still write a column?

Posted by: EricinReston | April 6, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon should just quit the paper like Mr. Tony and go tv and radio fulltime

Posted by: joek443 | April 6, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Anybody here who has been touting Shaone "Schmo" Morrisonn or Joe "Jose Cuervo" Corvo have serious issues. Neither one of them is that good. Pairing together last night was one of the scariest moves I've seen all season. Morrisonn is only okay if another more than adequate partner is playing alongside him. Otherwise, he's a real liability. It's kind of funny that he's been pinching in a bit more this season, but that's not the main reason why he's a liability. Jeff Schultz has definitely improved a lot this season - Schmo could learn a thing or two from The Schnoz. It isn't just his numbers. It's his confidence and his positional play has been a lot better. Maybe he heard the insults at Verizon last season. As for Corvo, I still don't understand that trade: he's makes more than Pothier, doesn't play two-way (barely plays one-way), in addition to a good piece of the defensive puzzle (Pothier), we gave up a pick and Osala. Corvo always goes for the puck, then turns into the boards under pressure resulting in an actual or potential turnover. I thought we got rid of Joel Kwiatowski for good, but I'll be damned if this isn't his clone. Please tell me this guy isn't going to be on the point for our PP permanently, on either unit. PLEASE. He's not even that good at keeping the puck in the offensive zone - and even Steckel is improving in that realm. Boy, McPhee, I used to be on your case all the time, but backed off the past few years. You just had to throw in a little chaos to level the playing field, didn't ya? Making a move for the sake of making a move is a bad idea. It hasn't completely bitten the Caps in the rear yet, but there are an awful amount of games going to overtime since the trade deadline. That's not a good thing when we were blowing teams away all season.

Posted by: fbutler1 | April 6, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

ShaMo has easily been one of the better defenseman since the Olympics/Ovi's last suspension.

He is a mini-Orpik.

Speaking of...that article about calling Orpik one of the better defensive d-man is funny. Schultz on there is a bit funny too.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 6, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

@fbutler1

Corvo logged the most minutes on Carolina last year in the playoffs. A team that made it to the ECF and gave up far less goals than the Caps. He was a first pairing D-man on their team. It worked good enough to get them to the ECF. Therefore, I think he would be a fine 3rd pairing D-man for the Caps.

In addition, he played a lot for Ottawa when they went to the finals in 2007. That seemed to work fine for the Senators also, who also didn't give up many goals in the playoffs.

Two times in the playoffs, he made the ECF when he was replied on heavily and the SCF when he was getting 3rd pairing minutes.

He had to be doing something right.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I just read the Wilbon Q&A. What was it that makes people say he sounds angry? I thought it was pretty normal stuff.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 6, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Corvo looked like absolute crap last year against the Pens in the ECF, though.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 6, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3: I agree with your analysis of Corvo in the past. The real concern is that he hasn't really played that well here so far and he himself has said that he is not 100% and won't be until next season. We are all hoping that the guy who was a key player for Carolina in last year's playoffs makes a reappearance for the Caps in this year's playoffs.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 6, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

hey Caps fans! I'm just chiming in here to support my boys but also promote some new music I have. I am originally from Dc but in Boston now for school, and if you like music and have distinct taste and want to hear something different, my piano based expiremental electronica rock will take you on just the trip... Check it out...it's only 8 mins of your time. you can watch highlights at the same time.

www.myspace.com/marianoxb

Posted by: masterx | April 6, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Yes, Carolina was blown out in last year's ECF. Everyone on Carolina looked like absolute crap that series.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 6, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Its healthy for a team to win games 3-1 and 4-3 and 3-2. It makes every position important. This team was not blowing teams away earlier in the season. They did run up the score against Philly and Atlanta but most games were in some zone of competition half way through. From night to night they just scored one more goal consistently.

Interesting point about the Goals Against. Washington and Pittsburgh hover at around 222 goals against while the teams considered best defensively are around 194 goals against so a difference of 30 goals over a whole 80 game schedule makes people brand a team strong or weak defensively?

I think that's crazy as it factors to about a quarter of a goal against per game. One good penalty kill can fix that. (Or in the Caps case 2 minutes less of Semin taking penalties)

The difference of the Caps goal scoring on the other hand is huge - it is almost a goal more per game than the average team that can score.

Good habits equal winning and laziness equals losing.

If the Caps develop good habits they will do just fine in the playoffs.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 6, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

If we had "last year" Corvo - this thread wouldn't be full of Corvo sucks stuff. Not trying to pretend I read GMGM mind when he made the trade - but looks like he was betting *that* Corvo - the one who did not look one bit out of his element going against the likes of Parise and Kessel, or, for that matter, Clarkson and Lucic, would reappear. So far, not so much. Is it his injury? May be.
Did McPhee overpay if that Corvo never shows up? Yes. Did he give away the farm? Not really.
Were there better answers at the deadline? Not sure, especially if the question was "Who is the best available right stick puck moving D?"

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 6, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if this was touched on, but...

In the last 14 Caps/Pens games, the Pens have received more power plays 10 times, there have been 4 games with equal power play opportunities, and the Caps have got more power plays ZERO times.

Posted by: Aldred15 | April 6, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

What kind of bothers me at this point is the fact that we are going into the playoffs with a 20 year old kid who so far has played 20 games in the NHL. Carlson should have been here since the end of WJC if BB and GMGM were counting on him for the run.
Then again, Varly didn't have much more experience last year, so maybe I am worried about nothing...

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 6, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

That's very interesting but not surprising at all, Aldred15... and you can probably make that 11 times the Pens got more PPs after tonight's game..

I'm not into conspiracies... but that's crazy that 10 of the 14 games they've had more while we haven't even had one game where we had more. I bet tonight it will be something like 5 to 1 power plays. I also certainly hope the Caps play hard. I don't really like that quote that BB said this game is probably more important to them. Anytime it's a rival, you gotta play them hard. A sweep would be huge.. and very satisfying for us fans..

btw where's the live chat? This is a huge game! Where's Geno?!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 6, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Caps should of called up every Hershey player eligible for this game (don't know the rules) but basically field a non-star team for this game, so when the Pens win, it'll do nothing for their confidence & everyone will say, yeah but they didn't play Ovi, Semin, Backstrom, Green... etc.

Of course... we could just beat them for win #4... but I got a feeling the Pens are going to take this game, they are battling with NJ for #2 in the conference & that is a big big deal...

It would not do the league justice for Caps vs Pens to take place in round #2.

Posted by: tony325 | April 6, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

On the news of Green being scratched again.

Don't ever believe it when you hear that Green is a "healthy scratch". Or next time I hear that news, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 6, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Please watch this video I just uploaded as a way to get warmed up for Cindy Crysby tonight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsDDVB5tY9k

Posted by: capscoach | April 6, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

@Rachel: chat will be here...game doesn't start until 7:30...

Already in pregame warm up here....ate dinner, got the snacks and the beer is cold.

See you at the chat.

Posted by: TimDz | April 6, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Completely agreed Carlson should have been here at least since the end of the WJC - actually, I don't think GMGM and BB planned at all to have him be in the top-6 at this stage [really, the top-4, if we're being honest] but through his play he has forced his way into the lineup. And not soon enough, I might add.

Posted by: govtimbo | April 6, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

...i admit to feeling neglected by WaPo, considering this is Cindy and crew.

Very little STUFF to hype me up for this game.

No matter WHEN we play the Pens, I will not readily accept that it is a meaningless game!

NOR WILL I CONCEDE A LOSS!

GO CAPS!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 6, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

You can assert conspiracy -- every team's fans do, so why should we be different? -- but you can't simply equate PP chance percentages to league favoritism. Sometimes penalties are due to hard work. Look at the Krejci penalty for the cross check of Sasha last night, for instance. Semin outworked him and he paid.

Nothin's fair overall about penalties. I'm pretty shocked we didn't get make-up calls against after the obvious 4 min-worthy high stick of Chara last night. But some teams earn PPs better than others.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 6, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

TimDz: oh.. I forgot it's always at 7:30 when we play in Pittsburgh. Okay I'll see you then if there's a chat. GO CAPS!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 6, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

TarikElBashir

1. Defensive tandems: 55-3; 26-77; 4-89. 5 minutes ago via web
2. Caps' lines: 8-29-22; 21-14-28; 25-83-16; 53-39-10. 5 minutes ago via web

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 6, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Very little STUFF to hype me up for this game.

. . .

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 6, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's a couple:


http://espn.go.com/nhl/blog/_/name/lebrun_pierre/id/5060206/pens-look-snap-recent-skid-vs-caps


http://proxy.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=300406016

Posted by: Sonyask | April 6, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

thanks sonya

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 6, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

UGH!, that freaking commersial of Crysby hoisting the Cup

Posted by: guer_j | April 6, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

2. Caps' lines: 8-29-22; 21-14-28; 25-83-16; 53-39-10. 5 minutes ago via web

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 6, 2010 7:13 PM

i'm guessing 29 = 19

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 6, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Maybe there isn't a chat...

Posted by: TimDz | April 6, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Uhg! that commercial of Crysby hoisting the Cup. I'm gonna puke

Posted by: guer_j | April 6, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

# Evgeni Malkin is out sick, according to Pens spokesman. 2 minutes ago via web

Im just copyin' tweets.

wtf else is goin on?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 6, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Tarik just tweeted that Malkin's out sick.

LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: wocoliz | April 6, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

wtf: no chat? Thought Geno was going to do a chat tonight...

Posted by: TimDz | April 6, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Beating the Pens again would be great. Doing so with Erskine/Sloan, Beagle & Laing sounds even better.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 6, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

yes Joe B!!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 6, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

WTF_E_FEHR:
DROP THE PUCK ALREADY!!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 6, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

JOE B. is the MAN!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 6, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

new thread

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 6, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

tonights lineup - new post

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 6, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse


welcome to our online store,we have payment by paypal and free shipping, now pls copy and open this address-------- http://www.shoes2.us

Posted by: 898551828 | April 6, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The Pens seem to avoid taking the hit in their defensive zone at the expense of losing the puck....what a bunch of girls.

Nice couple of goals Ovie!

Not a bad win considering we we're playing for fun right now.

Go Caps!

Rock the Red!!

Posted by: DCSPORTSFANATIC | April 6, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

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